The 81-Year-Old Vanishing Groom

The couple cuts the cake: Fontelle and Robert Harrod on their wedding day, July 1, 2009ABC News
The couple cuts the cake: Fontelle and Robert Harrod on their wedding day, July 1, 2009

The idea of childhood sweethearts rediscovering each other and then marrying after 59 years apart is like something out of Hollywood.

But for Fontelle Harrod, 73, it's been more of a horror story than a storybook ending.

After a joyous reunion with her true love from decades past, the formerly named Fontelle Heeter married her sweetheart June 29, 2009. But Bob Harrod, 81, disappeared without a trace July 27, 2009.

Fontelle Harrod is devastated.

"I have waited, I don't want to be lost again without him," she said tearfully on "Good Morning America Weekend." "And I want him to come home."

VIDEO: An elderly husband goes missing.Play

In sunny Orange County, Calif., police are handing out fliers while the distraught new bride is in agony. She uprooted her life in Missouri to be with the man she met in the 1940s on a blind date. She has the marriage license but nothing else.

This isn't the first time Bob Harrod has broken her heart.

Fontelle Harrod believed the two were in love, but the Korean War tore them apart. He gave her an engagement ring and then ... nothing.

"My letters started coming back, they had been opened, read and were sent back, refused," she recalled.

Hurt and bewildered, she started a family of her own. But an unhappy marriage only reminded her more of man she truly loved.

She eventually confided her feelings to her only daughter, Leisa Marie Charles.

"On special occasions, she'd let me wear her engagement ring," her daughter told ABC News.

When Fontelle's husband passed away, it was her daughter's idea to look Bob Harrod up on the Internet. After a few searches on the Web, the two were back in touch. A recent widower, Bob Harrod was a former aerospace contractor and mini-real estate mogul who was married for more than 50 years and has children.

Fontelle was soon on a plane to California where she was confident the two would pick up where they had left off.

Now her daughter is filled with guilt for inviting that pain back into her mother's heart.

"Now we don't know where he is, and I just wanted her to be happy," Charles said. "I just pray that he is OK, and if he got cold feet, just let her know."

Cold feet. Fontelle refuses to believe it. She says from the moment she set foot in California, it was paradise.

"He is the only man I ever loved, the only one, and I want him back so bad," she said. "I feel like I deserve to have him for just a couple more years, maybe."

The pain and confusion began when Fontelle Harrod returned to Missouri to collect her clothes. When she returned to California, Bob Harrod was gone.

His car and glasses are at the house, veteran detective Corinne Loomis of the Placentia Police Department told the Los Angeles Times, but his wallet and keys are missing.

Police say they are certain he was not abducted by a stranger. Det. Loomis believes that the groom may have fled because he was overwhelmed.

Police want Harrod to understand he has committed no crime. But if he's sitting somewhere, watching this story unfold on his television, Det. Loomis told "Good Morning America" that police have a message for him: "If you don't want to come home and you had second thoughts and you want your own space and your own life back, we will respect that."

Yet, Fontelle is certain the man she has loved for 59 years would not break her heart yet again. She is determined to have that storybook ending, even though the pages are coming apart in her hands.

"The only thing you can do, a woman, is just follow your heart that is all that I was doing," she said.

Fontelle Harrod said she will wait for Bob Harrod in his California home until he returns.